Breaking the Wall

August 09, 2020

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff slept in. Ran first 8 with Daniel and Mary Ann, then the remaining 2 alone. It was very slippery. Mary Ann and I tried doing quarters, but after the first one in 82 decided it was too slippery to get anything out of it, and postponed speed until tomorrow. Was able to do explosions. Did a pickup of 600 meters on a dryer section of the trail in 2:04. Felt a lot stronger than on Saturday. No ear pain from harder breathing, and the will to win, or "the killer instinct" as Mike Kirk calls it, is returning. The ear is still congested, though.

Running without the will to win is hard. I learned something in the last race, I should say I learned it better, because I already knew. The will to win is 90% if not more physical. Spiritually you could be willing to die to win, but if the physical will to win is not there, you will coast through the race, finish not so tired, but for the life of you would not be able to go faster. On the other hand, you can come to a race wanting to just jog it, but if your body is brimming with the physical will to win, you will run yourself into the ground against your spiritual will, and you will run a good time.

On another subject, the infamous Reset Button was recently mentioned in the news. It was given by Hillary Clinton to the Russian foreign minister to symbolize a fresh start in the relationships between Russia and the US. The button had the word Reset written in Russian and in English In the true spirit of American Superficiality (TM) the State Department made two grave errors. One - the Russian word was written with the Latin alphabet. Bad move. Russians are every protective about their alphabet and their language in general. I remember learning a poem as kid in reference to the Second World War: Our people will not allow our sweet-scented Russian bread to be called by a German word brot. The thought of that alone would have been enough to give millions of Russians the strength and the courage to fight the fiercest battles.

As if that were not enough they got the word for Reset wrong by leaving out an important suffix. That changed the meaning of the word signficantly. Instead of Reset, it became Overload. Based on that description I would expect the button to trip the circuit and shut everything down in case of a dire overload emergency. When a Russian kid makes a serious spelling or language error, the teacher or his parents often sarcastically award him the title of a grammar scholar. I remember receiving that title from my mom on numerous occasions. One Russian newspaper very rightfully so called the creators of the infamous button American Grammar Scholars.

The embarrassment could have been easily avoided had the button design been previously shown to one native Russian. But apparently that was too much work for the State Department.

I find the incident symbolic of a lot of things, too many to mention. It reflects a general level of not being on the ball, out of touch with reality, looking for a quick fix, and failing to slow down and understand how something really works. The current recession is a fallout from that mentality. I expect it to last as long as the mentality itself, which will be longer than a couple of years.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:58. 2 with Jenny in 19:00, Julia ran the first mile in 9:44 with us.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From James on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 14:18:41 from

How do you run in the Five Fingers when it is cold? Do you wear toe socks?

From Burt on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:20:55 from

I call it, "The Eye of the Tiger."

Got to love our State Department.

From azdesertmonsoon on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:32:08 from

Style over substance.

When we were kids when we did something stupid we would get the sunshine award for being so bright.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:38:24 from

James - when it gets too cold for Five Fingers I just wear the T4 Racer, which I did today. I do not have the special socks for Five Fingers.

From Andrew on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 16:35:57 from

Your comments about the faux pas with Russia and the economy is spot on.

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